The big picture: Paul McCartney at his parents’ home in 1962

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This intimate portrait of Paul McCartney was taken by his brother before Beatlemania put an end to ordinary life

Mike McCartney took this picture of “our kid” reading the Observer a couple of weeks after the release of the Beatles’ first single, Love Me Do, in October 1962. The record had reached number 17 in the charts. He and Paul were still living at home, 20 Forthlin Road, in Allerton, south Liverpool. “This was the time before the time,” he told me last week. “We were just working-class Liverpool people trying to survive with our dad after our mum had died.”

Mike was 18 and had just formed his band the Scaffold, while working as a hairdresser. Paul, a couple of years older, had brought him back a Rolleicord camera from Hamburg, a gift from Astrid Kirchherr, who had befriended the Beatles when they played there. The brothers were experimenting with it, while their dad was out at work as a cotton salesman. “My parents always got the Observer rather than the Mirror because they wanted us to try to better ourselves,” Mike recalls. “Our mum would have been horrified to see the springs coming through the arm of the chair.”

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